Wooden Surface

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Ostrich Fern is a stately, vase-shaped fern that grows between 3-5 feet tall and has a 2-3 foot spread. It makes for a dramatic addition to a shade garden during the summer months before falling dormant by early fall.


Matteuccia struthiopteris is tolerant of a wider variety of soil types, unlike most other ferns, however it is still particular about preferring shade.


The Ostrich Fern is perfect for preventing soil erosion around woodland water sources when planted in large groups. Notably, the early growth of these ferns are called “fiddleheads”, and are edible.  


Use: Must be cooked to be edible, and this is the only edible fern native to our area. The flavor is similar to asparagus. Pick the unfurled part of the fern (crozier) before they fully unroll. Be sure the curl is tight. About 1" of the stem with the crozier can be eaten as well. You can find more information about how to prepare them here.


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Photos 2, 3, and 4 courtesy of Dan Wilder

Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich fern)

  • details

    SIZE: 1 gallon pot
    type: fern
    sun needs: shade to part shade
    water needs: moist to average soil
    height: 4'
    plant spacing: 2' distance
  • good plant companions

    Sweet fern, trillium, bloodroot

  • special notes

    edible parts: cooked fiddleheads, only when  still curled tight, around April. Unsafe to eat raw. See description for more information.
    deer resistant (please note that does not mean deer proof)